Mortgage risk assessment
Well, I think I can safely say that Doughnut and I scuppered our chances of getting a mortgage this weekend. I got my highlights done and Doughnut had a pedicure at the newly opened Mutt Hut doggy beauty salon that has just opened at the entrance to the park.
They are exactly the sort of spending decisions that are likely to get a bank or building society manager sucking his teeth and pointing me to his open door in the new style mortgage application guidelines that come into effect on Saturday (26/4/14).
Instead of working out whether or not we earn enough to qualify for a mortgage, lenders are responding to a perceived risk of mortgage default by asking how much we spend and what we spend it on. Questions potential house buyers are likely to face include not only how much we spend on hair and beauty treatments, but whether we have a gym membership and what our gambling habits are.
My first instinct was, “How very dare they!” and not just because of the patronising nature of the questions, but the intrusiveness of it. Having just emerged from the salon myself I know just how private these things are. Most of us don’t share how much we spend on essential maintenance with our nearest and dearest, and being forced to declare them in the stressful atmosphere of a glass-walled bank interview room could put paid to more joint mortgage applications than the precarious financial situations they reveal.
What happens inside the beauty salon should stay in the beauty salon, and I speak as someone who has just forked out £40 for a chin and lip wax and an eyebrow shape and tint. The relationship between beautician and client is a delicate one – they are not called beauty therapists for nothing. Gemma, my lovely beauty therapist, may have forgotten my name, but she can remember to the day the first time she tinted my eyebrows and my slightly hysterical reaction to it word for word, and that’s just the way I like it. Intimate, yet anonymous, so I’m only sharing these facts and figures as a public service, and I shall be mortified if they turn up on a mortgage application.
Still, it was slightly disconcerting to learn that that my eyebrows are more memorable than my name – imagine if I’d gone in for a bikini wax – leaving the salon would have been like the walk of shame after a particularly shabby one night stand.